Citation: Skandre. "Wisdom Gained through Experience: An Experience with Amanita muscaria (exp36099)". Erowid.org. Sep 21, 2004. erowid.org/exp/36099
Amanitas have become one of my favorite entheogens. This is not something that happened over night or through one single experience. I have been working with Amanitas for nearly two years now. In this report I will discuss some of my experiences and what I have learned from this wonderful mushroom.
My fascination with Amanitas began when I was very young. Back in high school, before I had even taken my first drink of alcohol or puff of weed, I was already interested. A book I found in our library discussed various hallucinogenic plants, and I remember reading about Amanitas. I recall that the book claimed that the mushroom was poisonous...what nonsense! I then kept seeing imagery of the mushroom recurring in the oddest places...like video games such as Mario Brothers. I knew that there was something more to this mushroom but had never seen it in circulation. Little did I know how easy it is to obtain these mushrooms.
With the discovery of a popular website, I was suddenly re-aquainted with Amanitas. In excitement I read nearly every report that was submitted, and all of the additional information I could find. I also found a great online vendor, one who specializes in these mushrooms. I placed my first order. The mushrooms were a strain harvested in Washington state, and considered 'grade A+'. I was very surprised when my order came...these mushrooms were huge...enormous. I had one dried cap that was probably 9 inches across! At the time I ordered my mushrooms, I was also experimenting with other legal entheogens. I shelfed the mushrooms for a while until I felt ready to try them. I was a bit apprehensive, because there were many reports that described bad experiences with Amanitas. Because of this, I started off carefully.
My first experience
was smoking the mushrooms. My second experience
involved eating the mushrooms, but in a very small amount, combined with marijuana. This involved a bit of baking. I took roughly 6-8 grams of the Amanitas and chopped them as finely as possible. I then made a batch of chocolate chip cookies...the butter used for them was infused with marijuana. I placed the chopped Amanita right in the batter then baked the cookies. Me and two friends went to the Radiohead concert at Red Rocks and took the cookies with us. While waiting in line to enter the coloseum, we each munched down 3 of the cookies. The effects came on rather quickly; I was starting to feel a bit stoney after only about 20 minutes. The high continued to get more intense. The show was completely awesome, and the cookies definately added a strange dimension to the experience. I never really felt like I 'tripped' but I could definately feel the presence of the mushroom. I came to realize that I would rather use Amanitas in a more private setting, away from people and distractions...but I would call this a positive experience.
Unfortunately, my first experience with eating large amounts of the mushrooms did not go as well. Around mid october of last year, a friend and I went camping in Wyoming's Medicine Bow National Forest. We took the Amanitas with us, thinking that it would be a terrific setting for the trip. Around mid afternoon, we took the mushrooms and placed them in a perculator. We used only cap material...I would estimate around 15 grams, perhaps a bit more. We let the water boil for probably around 15-20 minutes. The resulting 'tea' was light in color but rather heavy on taste...not exactly pleasant to drink. We drank probably about half of the liquid and put the rest in a thermos. We then set out for a hike, toting the thermos in a shoulder sling. After about 45 minutes or so, I began to notice a peculiar feeling. I can't easily describe it...it was sort of an apprehension but pleasant. The surrounding forest seemed more lively than before and noises were more intense.
I remember one very odd vision / visual effect...when I looked down at my feet it seemed as though I was very small, like an elf. I would then look up and it seemed as though I was 20 feet tall! I remembered reading about changes in perception of size, so this was proof to me that the mushrooms were really working (I was a bit surprised that this effect came so early on). Everything was actually going quite well until we returned from our hike to the camp site. We drank the rest of the tea and started a campfire. After a while, I started to feel extremely cold. Even next to a huge camp fire I felt chilled. My friend was having the same problem. After standing by the camp fire for what seemed like an hour, I suddenly began to feel extremely hot. I began to sweat, and sweat, and sweat. After standing away from the fire for a while I would then suddenly begin to feel extremely cold again...and so on and so on. There seemed to be no way to stay at a comfortable body temperature...we even tried sitting in the car using various settings on the heater. This lasted for perhaps 3 to 4 hours.
The odd thing is, despite the physical discomfort I still felt spellbound by the mushrooms. After most of the discomfort had passed we were so tired that we both fell asleep for an hour or so. From this experience I learned that these mushrooms can definately have unpleasant side effects. I also learned that it is best to use small amounts first and work up to a comfortable level. The trip is nothing like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms or mescaline. This experience scared me a bit...I was not sure if I would try it again. I can't tell you how glad I am that I gave Amanitas another chance!
After my somewhat unpleasant experience with Amanitas I did more research. I read about how the effects of the mushrooms can vary greatly depending on the strain, where it was grown, when it was picked, and how it was dried. I learned more about the constituents within the mushroom...such as muscarine and muscimol. From my understanding, muscarine is the unpleasant constituent which causes many of the negative side effects that we experienced. In order to try these again, I decided I must try a different strain. I used the same vendor as before since he carries many different varieties of Amanitas. This time I ordered 'grade A' Amanitas harvested in Latvia (a small country near Russia). When they arrived, I was excited to see that they were much smaller in size than the Washington strain...the biggest cap maybe 3 inches across. I has read somewhere that this was usually a good thing...the smaller caps are apparently more potent.
The first thing I did was make another batch of my 'ganja-amanita' cookies...this time using more Amanita in the cookies. The evening that I baked them I gave them a try. I ate 2 cookies and a friend had 3. The effects were similar to the last cookies...a nice stoney feeling with an added edge...but this time the 'edge' was much more noticable. After an hour or so I was very amused and laughing at seemingly nothing. I even had some slight 'closed eye visuals'...mostly it was like the cartoon mushroom in Mario Brothers, peeking at me and then hiding playfully. I knew from this experience that I was dealing with much better quality Amanitas than before...there were absolutely zero ill effects. I was very excited to try eating the mushrooms.
The next experience was a 'biking-camping' trip in the Colorado mountains. In the early afternoon, a friend and I each ate 2 cookies and about 3-4 grams of mushroom caps. We then went on a bike ride. The effects began after about 20 minutes. While riding my bike on a forest road through the Colorado wilderness, I began to feel uncontrollably happy. It felt as though I were a child again...everything had a wondrous quality about it. There were no major hallucinations, but everything somehow looked new and different. My friend was also enjoying the experience immensely. We eventually came to a very large uphill, perhaps 2 miles long. Though this effort did distract slightly from the experience it by no means ruined it. When we eventually returned to the camp area, we still felt great. There was absolutely no sign of any of the negative side effects we previously had experienced. All in all, it was a very positive experience. I now felt confident in trying a larger dose of these Amanitas.
The experience would be like a repeat of our last year's attempt in Medicine Bow National Forest. We actually returned to the very same camp site. We left the night before the experience so that we would have a full day without a rush. After setting up camp in the evening, we just had a few drinks and smoked a little weed...kept things pretty mellow. The next day I awoke and made a vegetarian breakfast (burritos with peppers, onions, potatoes and cheese). I am aware of the fact that many prefer to fast before a psychedelic experience; I prefer to eat a light meal since I know food is usually not appealing during the experience. A couple hours after breakfast we ate the Amanitas. This time, I believe we each ate approximately 7-8 grams of cap material. We took our mountain bikes out for a spin. The effects came on within 30 minutes. This time there were some more noticable visuals, such as 'trails'. The feelings I had were nothing short of wonderful...everything had a very dream-like quality. I noticed I had some loss of coordination, but other than this I never felt any side effects...awesome!
I saw someone state in another report that Amanitas are 'about the most natural feeling drug you can do'...I now understand what he meant. It can't really be explained, only felt. After our excellent bike adventure we returned to the camp site and made a huge fire. We were both completely hypnotized! After chilling out for a couple hours, and smoking a little weed, we actually made dinner...no problem!! The food tasted amazing, the lingering effects of the mushrooms almost seemed to enhance the flavor. I would say that the most intense effects lasted for about 5 to 6 hours, and then we came down slowly and pleasantly. We have since talked many times about the experience, and have decided that these mushrooms are one of the best entheogens available. We most definately plan on using them again, and we will be ordering the same strain for as long as they are available.
All of these experiences have taught me much about Amanitas, and I would like to share what I have learned. For one thing, have respect. These mushrooms can be very powerful, and may have negative side effects. I truly believe that the key is to search until you find great mushrooms such as the Latvian strain we use. For those who have submitted bad reports on Amanitas all I can say is that I wish you had tried these! I have noticed that the Amanita intoxication is more about 'visions' than 'visuals', though some visuals do occur. Surprisingly, I have not found the experience to involve a lot of heavy thinking, like I have with LSD. I can sit with eyes closed and experience incredible feelings of serenity and well-being without a lot of thought. Not to knock other hallucinogens, but it's almost the state of mind I was trying to achieve with them but never really did. There is a very earthy, natural feeling I get when using Amanitas. It seems to take very little material to get effects, I have felt 'strange' after eating less than a gram...but to have an 'experience' a larger dose is needed, perhaps 7-10 grams of dried material.
I like to use the caps only for ingestion (since apparently they are more potent)...I save the stems for smoking material. And speaking of smoking, I have also read reports that these mushrooms synergize well with marijuana...true! They seem made for each other. In conclusion, I absolutely love Amanita Muscaria...and I highly recommend it to responsible and patient people...others should probably stick with more conventional drugs.
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